Single City is a twice-weekly blog about the Chicago dating scene written by Sun-Times Media Wire reporter Sally Ho.
Sex toys are the new Tupperware, so I wasn't surprised when my friend Joy recently invited me to a party to check out some goods from a company called Pure Romance. I was surprised by the variety of stuff it sells, though, including bath and beauty items, clothes, and something called a sex attractant.
The pheromone-based fragrance, called Basic Instinct (possibly NSFW), claims it heightens your natural pheromones "to enhance romantic encounters and increase sexual desire," according to the fine print on the 10.2-milliliter bottle I skeptically bought for about $30. The saleswoman/sex consultant explained that the product brings out a woman's "natural" scent, which can vary from floral to fruity to musky.
"The concept of a human pheromone, or sexual scent of attraction, has been
debated and researched for years," according to a WebMD story first published in 1999, citing original research from the '70s. The story also said an amazing 74 percent of people who tested out a similar commercial pheromone "experienced an increase in hugging, kissing and sexual intercourse."
Too good to be true? As I tried a sample, the consultant said my pheromones are musky (not to be confused with musty!) , like vanilla and sandalwood. Apparently, this is a good thing because men like the scent of vanilla -- it reminds them of food, she said. What a great sales pitch!
Full disclosure: I do not wear perfume. I just use baby lotion because I like the clean smell; nothing is worse than smelling like sweat mixed with flowers. But I tried the "sex attractant" anyway for a few days. Here are some findings from various situations: